The MLB season is still several weeks away and I’m starving for some baseball.
That said, I present to you the delicious prize of the 2014 MLB First Year Player Draft:
This .GIF, courtesy of FanGraphs, is N.C. State ace Carlos Rodon flashing his nasty slider during a Team USA game against Cuba. The White Sox pick third this year, so the Astros and Marlins would have to fall in love with some other prospects between now and June for Rodon to fall in the White Sox’s lap.
It’s fun to dream, isn’t it?
A few other snippets about Rodon:
Via Baseball America:
Could have ranked No. 1 in previous two draft classes with a 93-95 mph fastball and premium slider.
Regardless of how Rodon’s changeup progresses – and word has spread that the pitch has improved to the point where it’s far more than just a show-me pitch – his fastball-slide one-two punch makes Rodon a true power pitcher. When opposing batters are able to make contact, it frequently comes in the form of weakly hit grounders to the infielders behind Rodon.
College Baseball Daily:
From a scouting perspective, Rodon is easily one of the most talked about players in college baseball. The velocity on the lefty’s fastball has touched as high as 98, and his solid frame leaves room for even more of a potential increase in velocity. In addition to his velocity, his mechanics are excellent and very consistent. He also has very solid control and excellent consistency on the mound.
Stout wide frame, impressive present strength and build, think maturation and power potential TORL. FB was 90-94 mph (95), cruising speed is never an issue. 4S was solid 92-95 mph, nice backspin with arm slot tails away from RHH. Works both sides of the plate, attacks the inside, and changes eye levels constantly with the offering, all natural late subtle movement. Command is average, think it can improve with his ability, losses it a little too much low, point of improvement. He hides the ball well and can get hitters to stretch the zone. 2S 90-91 mph (92) with a good amount of hand side tail that is hard, showed good command, hits it consistently L/O. Cutter/Baby Slider was tight with good bite, more horizontal than vertical tilt at 89-91, safe plus grade with room to grow, effective action to both sides hitters, shows action that forces swings. Curve has good shape, a lot of spin with late drop action, but not a heavy rotation offering at any view this spring. He shows a projectable change, showed good arm action and potentially highly deceptive, but it is a work in progress, point to monitor in the future.
ESPN’s Keith Law (after watching Rodon in the same game the above .GIF is from):
He started out at 90-93 mph with his fastball but by the third inning was picking up steam, hitting 95 frequently and eventually topping out at 96 on a strikeout to end the sixth inning.
That was merely the appetizer to Rodon’s main course, one of the best sliders I’ve ever seen from an amateur, 84-88 with power and bite, at both sides of the plate, to right- and left-handed hitters. It’s so obscene the FCC might not allow basic cable channels to show it before 11 p.m.
With that pitch, and the fastball to set it up, he could have gone once through a major league lineup on Tuesday night and wouldn’t have looked the least bit out of place. His changeup is the one pitch that needs improvement, although he flashed a few grade-55s where he pulled the string on hitters at 81-83 mph. He’s willing to double up on it, so it’s not a question of confidence in the pitch.
Rodon and N.C. State begin their season next week and you better believe I’ll be following his every start, dreaming of what he’ll look like in a White Sox uniform.